New Magazine Helps Russian-American Business Ties

Contributing Writer


The second issue of the new magazine, Russian-American Business, was recently published in Norman. It is a unique magazine with a goal to improve the business relationship between the United States and the Commonwealth of Independent States, an independent union of the former Soviet republics. The magazine is distributed in the United States, Russia, the Ukraine, Byelorussia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. The owners of the magazine, Olga and Valery Tarasova, have also published the Russian-language newspaper, The Russian American, for several years.

American businesses have a great opportunity to sell their products to the CIS. Many advanced or simply good quality American products are still not well known there, but could be sold successfully. For example, “cowboy” style leather jackets, boots and jeans, some brands of cosmetics, fashionable jewelry, updated equipment for manufacturing and even cake mixes are examples. The list can include hundreds of such products.

“More mid-level and small businesses in the United States have begun to develop interests of working with Russia,” Olga says. “About 80 percent of the participants of a recent oil and gas trade show in Oklahoma City told us that they were interested in partnerships with CIS companies. The most important change affecting commercial relationships between Russia and the United States is, of course, the development of truly free markets in the former Soviet countries.”

Another great opportunity for American business owners is to buy unique and original goods from CIS countries such as interior decor, furniture, jewelry and souvenirs. Production and shipping of everyday use items such as gloves, bed sets, towels, etc. can also be cheaper than the same products from China or India because of the low cost of labor in the CIS. Olga says, “The Russian American Newspaper was frequently contacted by companies from Russia, who asked for help in finding business partners in the United States. The companies that contacted us were among the leaders in their respective fields in Russia, the best Russian watch factory and a renowned jewelry producer, to name a few. We realized that there existed a market niche and began to publish the Russian-American Business magazine.”

Olga continues, “Now, there is a great interest for developing business with the United States in the CIS countries. We know that from our talks with the leaders of Russia’s State Congress and the Federation Council, with regional governors, whom we interview for the magazine. We know that also—and perhaps most importantly—from our discussions with business owners and entrepreneurs who come to the United States in search of commercial opportunities.”

Through the Russian-American Business magazine, different companies found business partners. Olga adds, “not long ago, we received a letter from the head of a large science research institute in Armenia, Dr. Evrik Afrikian: After a publication in the Russian-American Business, we received several offers from American companies to start joint ventures. The Russian-American Business helped find a distributor for the Russian clock factory, Chaika. The same can be said about the unique Russian jewelry producer Severnaya Chern.”

When asked what advantages Russia has over China and India, Olga says, “According to the views of the experts, the trends of today’s world economy are such that there are four very-interesting-for-investment markets; India, China, Brazil, and Russia. Russia is by no means at the end of the interest scale, I must add. Last week I met with the owner of a large company in Oklahoma City who told me that, of late, there has developed an increased interest in investing into Russian energy companies. ‘My clients, who have an extra $250,000 to $2 million, are at ease in investing the money in Russian companies,’ he told me. The reason—very high annual profits. One must also not forget Russia’s cultural richness. People that start to do business with Russia frequently fall in love with that country.”

The United States is the leading foreign investor in Russia’s economy. Official data from 2003 give the total investment figure as 2.4 billon dollars. United States companies also invested considerable amounts in the economies of Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Byelorussia.

Some of the businessmen in the United States are troubled by the political situation in Russia. They think that the sale of the Yukos energy company, in addition to some other factors, show the lack of stability in Russia. The response by Nikolay Sofinskiy, Consul General of the Russian Federation in Houston, is “I can tell that the economic and political climate in Russia today is unquestionably better than it was 15 years ago. There are problems, but problems exist everywhere. Sure, there is some risk, maybe a greater risk than in other places, but there are also unique opportunities that do not exist anywhere else in the world. “He, who does not run a few risks, does not win.”

For more information call Olga Tarasova at 405-579-3411 or 405-701-3801.

Updated 02-23-2005

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